COLORADO SPRINGS — Rick George wants the University of Colorado football team to compete in bowl games in 2014 and 2015, and play in a Pac-12 championship game by 2016.

The Boulder campus athletic director announced those goals and others for the next three years on Wednesday during a meeting of the Board of Regents' intercollegiate athletic subcommittee on the Colorado Springs campus.

Boulder campus officials unveiled a three-year strategic plan for the athletic department for 2014 to 2017.

The four major themes identified in the strategic plan include national recognition, operating in a fiscally responsible manner, consistently competing for and winning championships, and offering world-class programs.

Former University of Colorado coach Gary Barnett holds his head during the Buffs’ 70-3 loss against Texas in the Big 12 Championship game in 2005.
Former University of Colorado coach Gary Barnett holds his head during the Buffs' 70-3 loss against Texas in the Big 12 Championship game in 2005. That was the last time the Buffs played in a conference championship; new athletic director Rick George wants to see CU play in the Pac-12 title game by 2016. (Dave Einsel / Associated Press)

In addition to football-specific goals, the plan includes targets such as the men's basketball team competing in a Pac-12 championship game by 2017 and the women's basketball team making it to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament between 2015 and 2017.

George said the goals are meant to push coaches and athletes outside their comfort zones.

"It's aspirational, but is it obtainable?" George said. "Yes, we believe it is."

Colorado finished its first football season under coach Mike MacIntyre last year with a 4-8 record, failing to make a bowl game.

Regent Jim Geddes, R-Sedalia, chairs the intercollegiate athletics subcommittee, and said he feels the goals set for the football team, including playing in a bowl game as early this year, are appropriate and attainable.

"That's a goal that is an obvious goal of any Division 1 football program," he said. "They want to go to a good quality bowl game, they want to win a national championship. That's not inconsistent with a good goal to set."

The plan also detailed objectives for improving the academic performance of CU athletes. Athletic officials said they aspire to improve grade point averages for all student athletes to at least 2.95 each semester by 2017.

CU also set goals for becoming more "nationally recognized," such as increasing the total number of visits to athletic department websites by 15 percent by 2017.

Campus officials said the athletic department needs to significantly improve its financial status by increasing revenues from football and men's basketball and achieving a total net revenue of $4.4 million by 2016-2017. Another goal outlined in the plan is to maintain the total debt load at $6.4 million through 2016-2017.

The plan includes who within the university is responsible for achieving each specific goal, which George said holds everyone accountable.

"What (the plan is) going to do is push us out of our comfort zone to think differently, to work differently, and it's going to make us better," George said.

CU President Bruce Benson acknowledged that the athletic department may not hit all of its objectives, but said he feels it's important to aim high.

"You have to have your aspirations up here," Benson said. "You're going to work like hell to get there. You're not going to get every one you want to get, but let's not set our goals low."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Sarah Kuta at 303-473-1106, kutas@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/sarahkuta.